Friday, March 23, 2018

Looking for salt

I filled in on the morning shift at the library.  Wednesday the librarian let me know she had also scheduled two newer volunteers who weren't quite comfortable working on their own yet.  I wondered if volunteers would outnumber visitors.  Jim and Cory were already on-site when I arrived.  Jim had picked up the books from the book drop and was ready to start on the just-delivered courier boxes. Cory was looking over a list of tasks the librarian had left for him.  I popped open the top of my latte and sat back.   Jim is around my age so after the courier boxes were dealt w/, StoryTime for Toddlers was finished, and the invasion of a fifth grade class ebbed, he and I started swapping stories about 'olden' days.  Cory went to work on building a list of 'New Books Arriving in March'.  We all brainstormed on where and how we should display the new book list and came up w/ a rather out-of-the-box idea.  The four hour shift went quickly.   Volunteering should always be this much fun.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Blitzen yawning

I sat in the chair, hair slowly dying to a uniform color, as the beautician excitedly explained to me how her broom will stand upright during the full moon.  I was in a sensitive position.  At work it was a rule to never tick off the people who picked up your garbage or the secretaries.  I added to that list anyone w/ access to my bodily orifices (doctor, dentist, hygienist) and the person who cuts my hair.  So how to tell her that she was wrong?  I asked her what was the physics behind this phenomena.  In response she showed me picture after picture on Facebook of brooms standing on end ostensibly during full moon.  OK, empirical evidence is good but needs to be backed up by logic and a mathematical proof.  Otherwise why not believe the earth is flat. an eclipse is caused by a dragon eating the sun, and the mesas in the southwest are the trunks of ancient giant trees.  Plus, while Facebook has it's charms, veracity isn't one of them.  So I told her it wasn't the full moon and likely the brooms would stand upright at anytime.  I could tell she wasn't convinced and I said I would check it out.  I was right.  It's quarter moon and I had no problem standing my Roomba upright (though it did want to roll a bit).

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sun Pillar at Dawn

I have a friend who will be having knee surgery soon.  She will have to convalesce for 6 to 8 weeks so I sent her a virtual garden game.  Normally I'm not big into on-line games but in this case where she can't get out to dig in the earth physically thought it might be a fun distraction.  The 'game' allows you to build your own garden - you pick the flower seeds from a catalog, plant them in the greenhouse containers, and you have to wait a few days while they "grow".    After that you can choose where to plant them 'outside'.  A garden gnome changes position every time you sign on.  Each day includes a different game.  Today's game is a simple find three bugs in a row, click on them, and build up points.  (Successfully removing bugs results in a wet squishing sound which can be a little disconcerting.)  Since it's officially spring now yet Indy and I are still walking over snow to get to a frozen over Gorgeous Gorge, I picked up a copy of the virtual garden game for me too.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Dunder in the morning sun

Vernal Equinox tomorrow so I'm looking around the house thinking the last of the Christmas decorations have to be finally packed away.  I repotted some of the plants I'm overwintering for my aunt - want to give the little things some recovery time before my aunt & uncle return from their southern wintering grounds.  I hacked back the plant in the guest bedroom that has become too rangy for the corner I have it in.  Checked the geraniums that are packed tightly in the tent in my living room.  The tent was an unconventional  solution to the issue of keeping plants and kittens apart but worked wonderfully well.  Now with the additional sunlight the plants are putting on new foliage and two are budding.  Think I'll wash the car to remove the winter salt today.  Then, even if the ground is still frozen and there is a foot and a half of snow pack on top of it, I'm ready for Spring.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Ski Hill at Dusk

As I've said before, my house is a square w/ the corners oriented to each of the cardinal directions.  Makes it cock-eyed to the road but allows maximum advantage of passive solar heating.  Yesterday was a relatively warm winter day (temp in the low 40's) and sunny.  W/ that extra bump of sunlight the house was a very warm 80 degrees.  It's still heating season in the Northwoods and I'm loathe to bleed off free heat in anyway.  Checked on the kittens.  They were napping stretched out full length in the sun.  Indy felt as I did though so I grabbed a cup of coffee and a crossword puzzle and we went out on the deck.  The big drift there has melted enough that my rocking chair is free of snow.  I sat in the sun while Indy settled down next to my chair.  Put my feet up on a stool, stripped off my socks, and let my feet get tanned.  Felt good.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Mercury and Venus

Happy St. Paddy's Day!  I don't have a speck of Irish in me but I celebrate it anyway.  Good time to consider all of the waves of immigrants that came to this country.  In the 1800's the Irish came because of a potato blight in Ireland.  Here they were met w/ signs  "No Irish Need Apply".  Later in that century Chinese immigrants were singled out as "unskilled labor" and given the pejorative title 'coolie'.   Still later the U.S. Immigration Commission concluded that "certain types of criminality is inherent in the Italian race" and laws were enacted to make it difficult for them to come.   Nice to know that all of these groups were eventually able to make America home and that we are the richer for it.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Cold Sunrise

Blitzen likes to chase a little plastic ball w/ a bell in it so I keep a cache of them in a toy box under the pew.   I'm attempting to teach her to 'retrieve' the ball for me.  I wait until she is actively playing w/ the ball, take it, tease her a bit by shaking it so it makes a noise, and then throw it across the room.  She runs after it, picks it up in her mouth, trots back to me, and drops it in my general vicinity  for me to toss again.  Today to push the trick a bit further, I kept the ball.  My plan was to later shake the ball so it made a noise and she would come to me to play.   Blitzen looked at me expectantly but when I didn't toss it she just trotted off.  Before too long I heard the recognizable sound of the bell being shook.  I went to see what was up.  Bliten must have squeezed into the toy box, grabbed another ball, and carried it out to play w/.  Since I was there now she looked up at me to see if I would toss it for her.  Yes, she's doing a good job of teaching me her trick.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

High Cloud Sunrise

Heard on the BBC that Stephen Hawking died.  I thought I would reread my copy of 'A Brief History of Time' but I couldn't find it.  Think I donated it to the library sometime.  So I got on-line and ordered it from the library (this time on CD).  Indy and I went walking the snowmobile trails.  Made the wrong assumption that they followed my summer walking trails but Blake had made his own trails over the snow so Indy and I ended up walking further than planed but it was great being out and about again.  At noon I had pizza in honor of Pi day (3.14...).  Tonight I volunteered at the library.    Lately the Boy Scout leader has been having one-on-one meetings w/ boys that want to get to the level of Tenderfoot.  I can't see them but when the library is quiet I can hear them.  The Boy Scout leader has more patience than I would have. He has a knack of getting each boy to open up and answer the questions in their book.  The answers are easy - at least to adults.  How do you find your way out of a woods if you are lost?  What do you do if you come across an accident?   Can you name the types of animals in your backyard?   The boys often come up w/ shall we say 'innovative' answers.  Indy and I went out on our after-dark constitutional when I got home.  That's pretty much the highlights of my day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Snowmobile Trail

Indy and I hadn't even been able to walk as far as Gorgeous Gorge since a couple of snow storms ago.  My neighbor Blake rode his snowmobile over the fields to my place on Friday.  The tracks he made would work well for taking walks.  He suggested waiting a couple of days to let the tracks crust over.  Even though the daytime temps have hovered just below freezing, the sunshine melts the top layer of snow and that layer of moisture freezes hard when the night time temps plummet.  On Sunday Indy and I went for a walk.  It worked wonderfully.  Once in a while Indy would go off the trail to check out something and she would struggle through the deep drifts.  However the snowmobile trail was strong enough to let me stroll along on top of the snow.   So Indy and I are taking daily walks out across the meadow again - at least in the early morning before the sun turns the trails to mush.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sunrise on Daylight Savings Time

I woke up to the BBC giving their spin on how Daylight Savings Time (DST) came into existence.  As they told the story it was one of their own who thought children would play outside longer if there were more daylight hours after school let out.  He proposed a bill in Parliament and for ten years it was debated back and forth but as an energy saving technique.  World War I started.  The German Empire and Austria-Hungary heard that DST might save energy and immediately enacted it.  This, of course, lit a fire under the British and they quickly passed the bill along w/ their allies the Americans.  Interestingly, Daylight Savings Time has never been much of an energy saver but is great for retail.  Businesses noticed that, like the children would get out and play, shoppers would go out and shop if it stayed light longer after they left work.  Golf courses love it so much they lobbied for it!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

This season's jigsaw puzzles

 The jigsaw fever I get after Christmas every year is abating.  I found that pulling away the kitchen stools I could put the puzzles together on the kitchen counter w/o too much interference from the kittens.  Strangely they seemed content w/ sitting on the stools and watching me.
 This weekend was planned as my last Christmas party.  The GNO (Girls Night Out) group was to meet at my place, go out to eat, exchange presents, and pick a theme for next year.  It was easy when we all worked to make plans to do that but as each of us retired it has become harder and harder to find a date we all had free. Eventually this weekend's party had to be cancelled.
 Instead my friend Nancy and I decided on a movie night.  She came over on Friday night.  We ate out at J&S restaurant (which will be the last time I go there) and then watched Fiddler on the Roof.  Nancy was asleep in the easy chair before the first daughter was married. 

 The next morning I made coffee and we sat down to a couple of episodes of Terra Nova.  It was a TV series from 2011.  I thought it had everything one would want in a movie - science, explosions, and dinosaurs.  Nancy thought it was OK.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Just after sunset

Suddenly I could no longer upload a picture for the blog.  Couldn't even grab a picture from elsewhere.  Just a blank screen whenever I clicked on the add-a-picture icon.  So I went to the library and signed on using their computer - everything worked there.  Then I took my computer to the library using their network - back to not working.  Three areas might be causing the problem: my computer, my network, or Blogger not liking my network.  I put the question out to the Blogger help forum.  The first response suggested my pictures might be too big.  Since I didn't even get that far that was a non-starter.  The next response suggested I remove all of my cookies.  Tried that but it still didn't work. They had a second suggestion of signing on 'incognito'.  That works.  Will have to figure out what 'incognito' brings to the equation but in the meantime looks like I'm back on-line.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Frosty View

At church this morning the pastor kicked off a program called 'Faith@Home".  The  sermon was unconventional in that a short film was shown, various pastors got up to talk about different aspects of the program and another short film presenting helpful resources.  Everything was going well - until.  The pastor asked the ushers to pass out folders to everyone in the pews to fill out.  No names necessary but the pastors wanted us to check off boxes in the folders concerning  issues we were facing in our current home situations and return them to the ushers.  The sections in the folder were 'My Future Marriage', 'My Marriage', My Children/Grandchildren'.  That's when it dawned on me that this church doesn't consider me part of a 'home'.  I searched through the pamphlet and found I wasn't even covered under a 'Special Situations' section.  Haven't been this angry since I was at another church and received a hand-out labeled "Job Descriptions for Females in the Church".